Have questions about coming to the Symphony? Or maybe you are just a curious person? Either way, you have come to the right place! See below for answers to your questions.
JACOBS MUSIC CENTER AT COPLEY SYMPHONY HALL FAQ'S
I’d like to see a San Diego Symphony performance.
How can I get tickets?
For single ticket information call 619.235.0804, visit www.sandiegosymphony.org or visit the Ticket Office at Jacobs Music Center.
The Jacobs Music Center Ticket Office (located at 750 B Street, NE corner of 7th and B in downtown San Diego) hours are:
- Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm
- Concert Thursdays and Fridays: 10am through intermission
- Concert Saturdays: 12 noon through intermission
- Matinee Concert Sundays: 12 noon through 5pm. (On non-concert Sundays: phone only)
- Evening Concert Sundays: 12 noon through the evening intermission.
Yes. The Ticket Office can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
but e-mails are generally only answered during regular Ticket Office hours.
- Traditional Subscribers: may exchange tickets for free (anytime up to 48 hours before the performance) within their same series, based on ticket availability.
- Non-subscribers and Choose Your Own subscribers: may exchange tickets, with a $5 exchange fee per ticket.
- Exchanges into more expensive seats or sections will generate a differential charge which must be covered by the patron.
- Special Promotion ticket buyers (such as $25 Seat Sales): exchanges are not allowed at all.
- Exchanged tickets do not need to be returned to the Ticket Office, but will be inactivated for entry - best to delete or destroy to avoid confusion.
- Returned tickets: do not need to be physically returned to the Ticket Office, but we must receive your notice to return no later than 48 hours in advance of your performance for exchange or donation credit.
- On-account credits generated by open-ended exchanges must be used within the season in which it is generated.
- Ticket reprinting by the Ticket Office for any reason will cost $1 per ticket with proper ID.
- Handling fees help the Symphony offset costs associated with selling and delivering tickets, plus maintaining our website.
- Subscriptions: Subscribers only pay a single $10 subscription processing fee per subscription order (online, by phone or in person), but must also pay the $2 Facility Restoration Fee per ticket for any tickets added to the order.
- Single ticket orders: There is a $7 handling fee (per order) for any single ticket purchase online, by phone or by mail.
- In-person orders: Handling fees are waived for in-person single ticket purchases at the Jacobs Music Center Ticket Office or The Shell Box Office only if they happen after the bulk subs mailing of each season. Otherwise, regular fees apply
- Mobile Ticket Delivery: selecting this option avoids the $7 handling fee, and your ticket barcodes will appear in the Symphony app four hours before your concert.
- Note: a $2 Facility Restoration Fee is charged per single (not subscription) ticket on all single tickets at all venues. This fee is not waivable. (Subscribers, who pay the $10 Subscription Processing Fee, are not subject to this Facility Restoration Fee unless they add extra tickets to their order.)
When selecting the "Mobile Ticket" delivery option, no tickets are printed or e-mailed, you're not charged any convenience fees per ticket, and you simply access your ticket barcodes through the Symphony's app on your smart phone. Your confirmation appears immediately, and the barcodes appear four hours before your concert. Note: a $7 handling fee will be charged if you request hard-printed tickets after your Mobile Tickets are delivered.
There will be San Diego Symphony Ticket Office representatives at The Conrad beginning at 6:30pm (1 hour before performance) on those Tuesday concert evenings. The Conrad is located at 7600 Fay Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037
The San Diego Symphony offers Family Packs
in an effort to encourage children and entire families to attend any of our age-appropriate performances. Only one (1) Family Pack is allowed per household on any qualifying performance, and only three (3) Family Packs are allowed per season. The offer is available by phone only (call 619.235.0804), and just for selected performances and sections. Family Pack requirements have changed, please consult a Ticket Office representative! Availability is generally limited, so buy early!
There is a general $3 senior (age 60+) discount for most seats at Copley Symphony Hall, Embarcadero Marina Park South and the Neurosciences Institute. The same discount is available for U.S. Military with active ID. Senior and military discounts apply in the Grandstand, Cabaret II and Cabaret II sections at the Embarcadero. Senior discounts do not apply in the Grand Tier Center, Main Aisle, Main Front Center or Mezzanine Center sections of Copley Symphony Hall, or in the Champagne, Premium Cabaret and Lawn sections of the Embarcadero concert site. There is a $10 discount on certain Friday night concerts at Embarcadero Marina Park South. Active military personnel may access that discount by using the promo code MILITARY in your order.
Students under the age of 35 with current ID may enjoy any San Diego Symphony concert at Copley Symphony Hall for just $10 (CASH ONLY), limit 2 per ID, subject to availability. (i.e., If a concert is close to selling out, this discount will NOT be offered.) Student Rush applies at Jacobs Music Center only. You may now buy your $10 tickets at the Ticket Office window at ANY time the Office is open, though you will still need to do so in person.
College and University students may also purchase $10 tickets in advance on the website for eligible Jacobs Music Center concerts by using the promo code STUDENT.
There is also a general student discount of $3 for most seats at Symphony concerts. Student discounts apply to the Grandstand, Cabaret I and Cabaret II sections at the Embarcadero, and apply to all seats at the Jacobs Music Center except Grand Tier Center, Main Aisle, Main Front Center or Mezzanine Center. For more information please call 619.235.0804.
Discount tickets for groups are available for both subscription and non-subscription concerts (excluding non-Symphony events) for as few as 10 individuals in some cases. For further information, please call 619.615.3941.
San Diego Symphony concert tickets can be reprinted for $1 per ticket at the Ticket Office with proper ID.
Most, but not all, rental events at the Jacobs Music Center's Copley Symphony Hall provide a limited allotment of tickets for the Symphony Ticket Office to sell. Such sales are by phone or in person only, never through the website. Many non-Symphony events at Copley Symphony Hall can be purchased through Ticketmaster. Please refer to the Rental Events page
for more details on upcoming events.
Jacobs Masterworks, Classical Special concerts and Chamber Series concerts: Only children ages five years and up will be allowed into the concert hall. These children must have a ticket and be able to sit in an un-accompanied seat. Broadway @ The Jacobs, Jazz @ The Jacobs and Fox Theater Film Series Concerts: Only children ages two and up will be allowed into the concert hall; they must have a ticket and be able to sit in a seat. Family Concerts: Families will be happy to know that children and babies two years old and younger who are accompanied by a parent will be allowed into the concert hall for free. They must be held by an adult and may not occupy a seat. (Children ages three years and older must have a ticket and be able to sit in a seat.)
Gift certificates may be purchased in any amount $10 and above at the Symphony Ticket Office in person, online or by phone. As they are like cash, gift certificates should be redeemed in person at our performance venues. Please note that gift certificates are not redeemable for Gift Shop merchandise. All gift certificate and ticket sales are final; there are no refunds. Gift Certificates cannot be redeemed for cash and cannot be redeemed for online orders.
If you cannot use a ticket for an upcoming concert, we would very much appreciate it if you could donate that ticket back to the Ticket Office (preferably several days in advance!) for a potential resale. You can also mail such a ticket to 1245 7th Ave., San Diego, CA 92101 (Attn: Ticket Office). Tickets should be turned in anytime up to 24 hours in advance of your concert. A receipt will be mailed acknowledging your tax-deductible contribution. (We would be unable to accept any tickets for tax deduction purposes after the concert has begun or passed.)
Determining the best seat for you really depends on your personal need and preferences. Some people prefer the upper levels where there are sweeping views of the entire orchestra. Other patrons prefer to sit on the main floor to feel "closer" to the stage. If someone in your party has difficulty climbing stairs, you will want to sit in the main floor area. (We do have an elevator, but the upper level does have steps up and down to certain seats in each section. Wheelchairs can be accommodated on either level, call the Ticket Office for details.) You may also want to sit on the main floor close to the stage, if your primary interest is seeing a particular guest artist up close.
On the following holidays, the Ticket Office is not open: Martin Luther King’s birthday (January), President's Day (February), Memorial Day (May), the Monday of or following July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Check with the Ticket Office for specific December/January holiday hours, which can vary year to year.
Does the San Diego Symphony offer Subscriptions?
San Diego Symphony offers an attractive array of subscription options. Traditional subscribers receive the best available seats and free ticket exchanges (up to 24 hours in advance for another performance within your same series). Build Your Own subscribers have no continuing seat rights, and must pay $5 per ticket for exchanges. Many other subscriber-only benefits apply, including priority notice of special events and (for certain packages) free parking. For more information, call the Symphony Ticket Office at 619.235.0804.
The Ticket Office asks that you hold all exchange requests until your subscription tickets have been mailed. This makes it less likely that exchanges have to be re-processed due to changing plans.
Traditional subscribers, who sit in their same seats throughout their series, are able to keep their same seats season after season if they so desire, or can ask for a seat improvement. Changing series nights may or may not result in seat improvement. Build Your Own subscribers, who pick a certain number concerts in a given season, have no continuing seat rights or priority in succeeding seasons. Note: seating assignments, particularly in the Grand Tier, are always informed by a patron’s giving level.
As a subscriber, it is your right to ask for seat improvement during each subscription renewal period. At that point, you are only competing with other returning subscribers for improved or upgraded seats. Please note, however: there are certain seating sections of Symphony Hall (generally the Grand Tier) which can only be accessed by subscribers who participate in significant annual donation programs. (Call Development at 619.315.3908 for further information.)
Bayside Summer Nights subscription tickets are generally mailed out the first two weeks of June. Winter Season subscription tickets are generally mailed out soon after Labor Day in September.
Tickets for missed concerts are non-refundable for subscribers and single ticket buyers alike.
Now that I have tickets, where do I go to see you?
From October through May, the San Diego Symphony performs at the Jacobs Music Center in downtown San Diego. The Center is located at Seventh Avenue and B Street within the Symphony Towers office complex. Concerts take place inside Copley Symphony Hall.
San Diego Symphony also performs its Bayside Summer Nights series at its outdoor venue on San Diego’s waterfront: Embarcadero Marina Park South, located behind the San Diego Convention Center, adjacent to the Marriott Hotel Marina. To learn more about the Embarcadero, visit our Bayside Summer Nights FAQ here
I want to support my Symphony in style. What do you suggest I wear?
The San Diego Symphony does not have a dress code for regular performances. Dress for performances usually varies from business casual to eveningwear, but our best advice is this: dress in a way that reflects your respect for what the musicians are trying to accomplish onstage. (Note: Gala events may have a black tie/formal dress guideline, but this would not apply to the Gala concert itself.). Also, as a courtesy to your fellow patrons, we ask that you be conservative with perfumes and scents.
I look great and I’m excited to see your concert, but I don’t know how to get to your hall or where to park!
We have a handy map and instructions located here
All of that information can be found right here
There is a Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) trolley stop just a few blocks from Symphony Hall. The Fifth Avenue stop (C Street between Sixth and Fifth) serves both the Blue Line and the Orange Line. Also, there are MTS bus lines that serve nearby Broadway, Fifth Avenue and Fourth Avenue. Adjacent stations are several walking blocks away from Symphony Hall.
I made it here. Now what?
Yes. There is an elevator (operated by ushers) that runs from the ground floor Jacobs Music Center lobby (accessed from B Street) to the Reception area adjacent to the Grand Tier/Mezzanine/Balcony lobby (accessed from 7th Ave). Note: patrons should be aware that rows E-S in the upper section is only accessible by using stairs.
The Symphony tries to establish a “Quiet Zone” inside Copley Symphony Hall by asking patrons to please turn all cellular and paging devices to the “vibrate” or (better) “off” position upon entry into the Hall. Also, patrons are asked to refrain from any unnecessary talking during a performance, and to please disable any malfunctioning hearing assistance devices. Patron cooperation is greatly appreciated by your fellow concertgoers and performers alike!
Please be aware that photography or video recording of any kind during the performances is not allowed. Photographs may be taken in the lobbies or in the hall prior to the concert, during intermission, during applause and after the concert. In consideration of others, please turn off all cell phones during the performance. Checking your cell phone during a performance is very distracting to others!
Smoking is not permitted in Copley Symphony Hall, its lobbies or the adjoining Symphony Towers lobby. Ashtrays can be found outside the building on both 7th Avenue and B Street. All smoking activity should be kept well away from all entrances.
Latecomers to Symphony concerts will be seated at an appropriate interval in the concert as determined by the house manager. We ask that you remain in your ticketed seat until the concert has concluded. Should special circumstances exist or arise, please contact the nearest usher for assistance.
Patrons holding tickets to our Jacobs Masterworks Series concerts are invited to come early for "What's the Score?", a pre-performance talk given by Voice of the San Diego Symphony Nuvi Mehta beginning 45 minutes prior to all Masterworks programs. Program notes for Jacobs Masterworks Series concerts may be found on the Symphony's website.
So how long should I plan to be here for?
Performance times vary, but generally last somewhere between 2 to 2.5 hours, including intermission. Family Concerts generally last approximately 45 minutes to 70 minutes, with no intermission. Once you hear us play, though, you won’t want it to end.
There are 82 full-time, contracted San Diego Symphony musicians. However, depending on the particular piece of music being performed, you may see more musicians on stage. These musicians are also auditioned and hired on a case-by-case basis. You may also see fewer musicians if the particular piece of music calls for less than the full complement.
Musicians are selected through a rigorous audition process which is comprised of an orchestra committee and the music director. Open positions are rare. When an audition is held, it is common to have 100 to 150 musicians competing for the open position.
Many San Diego Symphony musicians come from all over the United States, and some even from different countries in the world. Many of our musicians have studied at the top universities and music schools in the United States including The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music and Curtis Institute of Music.
In addition to rehearsals and performances, all of our musicians are required to perform a number of educational outreach services per year. In addition, many of our musicians serve as faculty members at local colleges and universities including University of California San Diego, San Diego State University and Point Loma Nazarene College. A number of musicians also have their own students and teach private lessons. In addition, several musicians have outside musical endeavors such as Art of Elán, Strings by the Sea, Luscious Noise and Camera Lucida and perform at other San Diego concert venues.
San Diego Symphony serves as the pit orchestra for all San Diego Opera productions throughout its international season at the Civic Theatre. Among other arts organizations, San Diego Symphony musicians also appear with La Jolla Music Society/SummerFest, and Mainly Mozart performing at the Balboa Theatre and Conrad Prebys Music Center at UCSD.
The age of the musicians ranges from mid-20s to late-70s.
San Diego Symphony performs from October through May, downtown at Copley Symphony Hall and offers the following music series: Jacobs Masterworks (classical), Broadway @ The Jacobs, Jazz @ The Jacobs, Fox Theatre Film Series Chamber Music Series and Family Concerts. From late June through early September, the San Diego Symphony performs Bayside Summer Nights at its outdoor venue on the waterfront downtown, Bayside Performance Park. The San Diego Symphony performs more than 147 concerts a year.
Cool! But what’s going on behind the scenes?
The San Diego Symphony recently named Rafael Payare as Music Director, and he assumed that position as of July 1, 2019. Most recently, Jahja Ling, who served as music director from 2004 to 2017, was named the San Diego Symphony’s first ever Conductor Laureate.
The San Diego Symphony does not have an associate conductor at this time.
Yes, the Symphony currently has 44 members on its board of directors, which is comprised of various community and business leaders. These include members of San Diego’s legal and financial community along with small business owners, principals from large business, local entrepreneurs and philanthropic supporters.
In addition to the 82 full-time musicians, there are 45 members of the administrative staff, which includes administration, artistic, development, education, facilities, finance, human resources, information systems, marketing and public relations and production. The cost of putting on a concert also includes salaries and fees for the music director, guest artists, stage crew, house management and maintenance.
The Jacobs Music Center is beautiful… Thank you!
I’d like to learn more about it.
No, Symphony Hall was built in 1929 as a movie palace and was known as The Fox Theatre, a well-known San Diego landmark. In its early days, “The Fox” also featured added stage shows, and then it eventually became a venue for touring Broadway shows until 1984. Subsequently, the Fox Theatre was renamed Copley Symphony Hall as a result of a donation by the late Helen Copley, whose family owned the morning newspaper, The San Diego Union and the Evening Tribune, now U-T San Diego. The entire complex is now known as the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Center.
The Hall has 2,212 seats including handicapped seating both on the main floor and upper level. Seating is divided into various section including orchestra, Grand Tier, mezzanine and balcony. The Hall also includes a patron elevator to reach the upper lobby.
Since 1984-85 when the Fox Theatre became Copley Symphony Hall through 1999, the venue has been continually refurbished. This includes installing a shell to surround the orchestra, stage risers, an adjustable ceiling and a stage floor made of Brazilian cherry wood, all adding to the quality of the sound. Most recently in 2008-09, a state-of-the-art digital sound and lighting system was installed further enhancing the experience of attending a symphony concert. All of these improvements were installed by the acoustical experts, Akustiks. In addition, these improvements add to the Hall’s marketability as a rental venue. The entire venue has been named the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Center as of October 2013.
In the mid-1990s, the Symphony’s ownership of Copley Symphony Hall was in jeopardy. Mr. Lawrence B. (Larry) Robinson stepped forward to acquire and preserve the Hall for the Symphony’s future. In early 2010, Mr. Robinson transferred the title and deed to the San Diego Symphony, which now owns the hall outright. Copley Symphony Hall remains the name of the performance chamber, but the entire complex of Symphony offices, lobbies, backstage and performance hall is now known as the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Center.
Longtime San Diegans and Symphony supporters, the Grosvenor Family, made a significant donation to renovate the antiquated musicians’ lounge, which is located directly under the stage. The result is the state-of-the-art Grosvenor Family Musicians Center, which includes a new musicians’ lounge, dressing rooms, locker rooms and soundproof practice rooms where musicians can rehearse privately. Joan and Irwin Jacobs are responsible for the Jacobs Administrative Center, an architectural gem above Symphony Hall that houses the Symphony’s administrative offices. The Jacobs’ are also responsible for the Hall’s balcony handrails and upper and lower lobby refurbishments. Copley Symphony Hall is ADA-compliant.
The San Diego Symphony performed in a variety of venues including the Grand Ballroom of the US Grant Hotel where the Symphony gave its very first performance on December 6, 1910. Other venues have included the Spreckels Theatre, San Diego High School Russ Auditorium, Hoover High School Auditorium, Ford Bowl in Balboa Park and the Civic Theatre. Summer venues include San Diego State University Amphitheatre, Hospitality Point at Mission Bay, Navy Pier and the current summer site, Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Is it rude to ask about your finances? Nope!
The gift was given in January 2002.
The amount of the gift was $120 million; however, the San Diego Symphony did not receive this amount in its entirety when the gift was given. The gift is allocated as follows:
- The first $50 million is given to the Symphony’s endowment fund—not the operating fund—in increments of $5 million each year for 10 years.
- The next $50 million of the gift is a bequest that will be received into the endowment fund after the Jacobs’ pass away.
- The last $20 million was given to the Symphony’s operating fund in increments of $2 million each year for 10 years, commencing in 2003.
The San Diego Symphony Foundation manages the endowment for the San Diego Symphony. In this capacity, the Foundation’s board of directors determines the amount of financial support that the endowment can provide to the Symphony annually. The yearly disbursement from the endowment funds is based upon the performance of the portfolio’s investments.
The Symphony offers a variety of ticket prices to serve a wide range of audiences. For our Young People’s Concerts and student rush tickets, the prices are $5 and $10, respectively. Family Concerts range from $10 to $25. Bayside Summer Nights range from $24-$98; and our classical series, the Jacobs Masterworks range in price $23-$105. Note: dynamic price increases are possible for any individual concert.
No, they do not. The Symphony must rely on both tickets sales and donated income from individuals, corporations, government entities and foundations and for-profit companies in order to operate. Ticket prices and other operating revenue only cover approximately $0.38 on the dollar while $0.62 on the dollar must be received in donations. Therefore, it is essential that the Symphony reach out to the community and continue its ongoing annual fundraising campaigns that include both individual and corporate support.
The base or starting annual salary of a musician in 2017 is approximately $74,000. Many musicians earn more than that amount based on their experience, length of service and position in their respective sections, be it principal or section player.
The current budget is approximately $29 million placing the San Diego Symphony in the Group I category along with the top orchestras in the country as ranked by the League of American Orchestras. Through its artistry, leadership and reputation, the San Diego Symphony is able to attract the finest guest artists performing with symphony orchestras today.